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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

> MB vs MB suit to Federal Court

The High Court here today publicly pronounced the questions for the Federal Court to answer to resolve the controversial suit over who is the lawful menteri besar of Perak.

The High Court’s questions can be split into two parts: the first concerns the Perak ruler’s decision in withholding consent to dissolve the Perak State Legislative Assembly; and the second is to do with the appointment of the new menteri besar.

The four constitutional questions, created by senior federal counsel in the Attorney General’s Chambers, Datuk Mohamad Kamaluddin Md Said, were read aloud practically unchanged in open court by Justice Lau Bee Lan of the Appellate and Special Powers division.

She wants the apex court to decide whether the High Court has the jurisdiction to decide on the matter of the Perak Sultan’s decision not to dissolve the State Legislative Assembly; and if it does, whether the Sultan of Perak was right or not in withholding his consent to dissolve the Assembly.

Justice Lau also wants the Federal Court to rule if the High Court has the power to decide on Sultan Azlan Shah’s appointment of Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new MB replacing Pakatan Rakyat’s Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

If the High Court does, then is Zambry’s appointment valid?

A copy of the questions in English was made available to The Malaysian Insider. Here is what it says:

“Whether the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of the State Legislative Assembly of Perak under Article XVI (6) read together with Article XVII (2) (b) of the Constitution of Perak by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak is justiciable?

“If the answer to the first question is in the affirmative, the following question is whether the withholding of consent by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak is lawful.

“Whether the appointment of the new Menteri Besar under Article XVI (2) (a) read together with Article XVII (2) (a) of the Constitution of Perak by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak is justiciable?

“If the answer to the above question is in the affirmative, the following question is whether the new menteri besar is validly appointed?”

Lead lawyer for Nizar, Sulaiman Abdullah, objected to the questions on the basis that they were not relevant to the constitutional matter.

“These questions are irrelevant to our application and with respect, the answers the Federal Court will give will not be finally determative of the issues that have arisen,” Sulaiman insisted it be put on record.

Sulaiman said last week, they would not submit any questions because they are appealing against the High Court judge’s decision to refer the matter to the Federal Court.

Nizar was absent in court today as he had hoped to receive an audience with the Sultan of Perak.

Interestingly, the Perak State Legal Advisor, Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, who maintains he is still the legal counsel for Zambry and was missing from the KL High Court last week, appeared today.

But he rushed right out of the courtroom after the judge exited, evading reporters who are keen to find out his stand on several controversial issues, including the Ipoh High Court’s order compelling him to represent Assembly Speaker V Sivakumar in a lawsuit filed against him by the elected representatives from Behrang, Cangkat Jering and Jelapang - The Malaysian Insider.